Becoming fluent in the language of disability is an important step in becoming an effective advocate, can be beneficial in communicating with special education staff, and is a valuable tool in understanding information from medical specialists. Also see our Acronyms Section for more information.

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Acupuncture – the practice of inserting fine needles into specific locations of the body at points where energy is believed to be blocked to reduce pain or induce anesthesia.

Accommodations (education) – involve changes in instructional methods, including alterations in the format of assignments or tests, without changing content, that allow students with disabilities to do the same work as their typical peers in the classroom. Accommodations and modifications are used in 504 Plans.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) – daily, routine skills an individual needs in order to function. Examples of self-care skills include: eating, bathing, moving, toileting, and grooming. ADL’s also include the basic tasks involved with household, community, work and leisure activities.

Advocate – an individual or organization that actively offers support, acts on behalf of individuals with disabilities, and helps individuals and their families understand their rights. See Advocacy and Support Section for information regarding specific advocacy groups.

American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) – legislation designed to protect individuals with disabilities by removing barriers and giving the right to fully access and participate in society by providing equal opportunities.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – data-based strategy often used with individuals with autism and other disabilities. ABA uses positive reinforcement, often utilizing tangible rewards, to encourage and modify positive social behaviors. Also known as Intensive Early Intervention Behavior Therapy (IEIBT).

Apraxia – a neurologic disorder that makes it difficult to perform motor movements. Apraxia can affect different parts of the body. Verbal apraxia affects speech.

Asperger’s Syndrome – named by Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger in 1944, is a developmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication without language delay, and intensive interests in specific topics.

Assessment Plan (education) – part of the process in determining if a student qualifies for special education and related services. Information is gathered from a variety of sources in the areas of development that are of concern.

Assistive Technology (AT) – a piece of equipment, a tool, or system purchased or modified, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or AD/HD)– a condition characterized by: distractibility, inattention, and impulsivity with or without hyperactivity that is long-term, excessive and pervasive.

Audiologist – a healthcare professional that identifies and manages hearing and balance disorders and remediates them using assistive devices.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) – a way for individuals to communicate who have difficulties with expressive or receptive language and includes: gestures, symbols, pictures and written communication or devices to assist in communication.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: a range of pervasive developmental disorders, with onset in childhood, that adversely affect a pupil’s functioning and result in the need for special education instruction and related services. ASD is a disability category characterized by an uneven developmental profile and a pattern of qualitative impairments in several areas of development, including social interaction, communication, or the presence of restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. These core features may present themselves in a wide variety of combinations that range from mild to severe, and the number of behavioral indicators present may vary. ASD may include Autistic Disorder, Childhood Autism, Atypical Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Asperger’s Disorder, or other related pervasive developmental disorders.


Beneficiary – the person benefitting from a trust

Bilateral – involving both sides of the body.

Bill – a proposal for a new law, or a change or repeal of a current law.

Bipartisan (legislative) – support by both the majority and minority parties.


Cardiologist – a medical doctor who is certified in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of disorders of the cardiovascular system, including the heart and major blood vessels.

Case Manager (education) – the person who is in charge of overseeing a special education student’s education, coordinates services on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and ensures that services are delivered.

Cerebral Palsy – a condition caused by damage to the brain before, during, or after birth that affects muscle control, coordination, and voluntary movements.

Charter Schools – independent public schools that offer choice for students through unique learning environments.

Chelation – the process of removing toxic metals from the body through the use of chelating agents.

Child Find – the process used by a school district to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities in their districts who need special education and related services. Child Find is mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Chiropractor – a medical practitioner that diagnoses and treats conditions of the musculoskeletal system through the use of spinal adjustments to improve functioning of the nervous system.

Co-payment (co-pay) – a dollar amount paid prior to a healthcare service to offset the cost of the care and may vary depending on the service.

Coinsurance – sharing the cost of a healthcare service by paying a percentage of the charge for the service after the deductible has been met.

Committee (legislative) – a portion of legislative body delegated to examine matters specifically referred to it. There are legislative committees that serve a variety of functions.

Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT Scan or CT Scan) – a radiological technique that uses special x-ray equipment to take multiple, detailed cross-sectional images of the body to diagnose medical conditions

Congenital – a condition that is present at birth that may or may not be genetic.

Conservator – a legal relationship where an individual is appointed by the court to handle the financial affairs and estate for someone who is unable to make these decisions for themselves. See Guardian.

Cumulative File – records, maintained by the school district, that contain general information about a student along with grades, attendance, assessments, information about the student’s disability, and placement. Parents have the right to view their child’s cumulative file.


Day Training & Habilitation Programs – licensed organizations that assist individuals with disabilities to develop and maintain life skills, participate in community life, and engage in activities of their own choosing.

Deaf-Blindness – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: medically verified visual loss coupled with medically verified hearing loss that, together, interfere with acquiring information or interacting in the environment. Both conditions need to be present simultaneously, and the pupil must meet the criteria for both visually impaired and deaf and hard of hearing to be eligible for special education and services under this category.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota State and is defined as: diminished sensitivity to sound, or hearing loss, that is expressed in terms of standard audiological measures. Hearing loss has the potential to affect educational, communicative, or social functioning that may result in the need for special education instruction and related services.

Dermatologist – a medical doctor that specializes in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

Deductible – the amount of money paid for healthcare services prior to the health plan paying for the service.

Department of Human Services – provides health care, economic assistance and other essential services for those who do not have the resources to meet their basic needs and are least able to help themselves.

Depth Perception – the ability to visually perceive distances between objects in three dimensions.

Developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) – programs specially designed or modified to meet the unique needs of students in special education to enable them to benefit from physical fitness activities. DAPE is a related service.

Developmental Cognitive Disability – one of the 13 special education categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: a condition resulting in significantly below average intellectual functioning and concurrent deficits in adaptive behavior that adversely affects educational performance and requires special education and related services. DCD does not include conditions primarily due to a sensory or physical impairment, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorders, severe multiple impairments, cultural influences, or inconsistent educational programming.

Developmental Delay – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: The team shall determine that a child from birth through the age of two years is eligible for infant and toddler intervention services if: A. the child meets the criteria of one of the disability categories in United States Code, title 20, chapter 33, sections 1400, et seq., as defined in Minnesota Rules; or B. the child meets one of the criteria for developmental delay in subitem (1) or the criteria in subitem (2): (1) the child has a diagnosed physical or mental condition or disorder that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay regardless of whether the child has a demonstrated need or delay; or (2) the child is experiencing a developmental delay that is demonstrated by a score of 1.5 standard deviations or more below the mean, as measured by the appropriate diagnostic measures and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: (a) cognitive development; (b) physical development, including vision and hearing; (c) communication development; (d) social or emotional development; and (e) adaptive development.

Developmental Disability – a mental and/or physical condition that substantially affects functioning in several major life activities and is expected to continue indefinitely. A developmental disability differs from a developmental delay.

Developmental Pediatrician – a pediatrician who has special training and experience working with children with developmental disabilities. They can help families in evaluating and managing the care of their child and can be an advocate in obtaining needed services.

Direct Services (education) – services provided directly to the student. Direct services are not the same as one-to-one services and more than one student can receive direct services at the same time.

Down Syndrome – a genetic condition associated with a chromosome variation which usually causes delays in physical, intellectual and language development.

Dual Diagnosis – in regard to developmental disabilities, is the co-occurrence of a developmental disability along with mental health needs.

Due Process (education) – a legal option parents can utilize to solve conflicts with the school district regarding their child’s education. Due process is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Dyslexia – a neurologic learning disability that impairs an individual’s ability to process written material and can affect reading, writing and spelling.


Early Intervention Services – identifies and provide services to children under three who are showing signs or are at risk for developmental delays to minimize the potential for problems in the future. Early intervention services take a family-centered approach.

Electroencephalogram (EEG) – a technique of attaching electrodes to the scalp to measure electrical impulses produced by the brain’s activity. An EEG can help diagnose certain conditions of the brain, including epilepsy.

Emotional or Behavioral Disorders – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: an established pattern of one or more of the following emotional or behavioral responses: A. withdrawal or anxiety, depression, problems with mood, or feelings of self-worth; B. disordered thought processes with unusual behavior patterns and atypical communication styles; or C. aggression, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. The established pattern of emotional or behavioral responses must adversely affect educational or developmental performance, including intrapersonal, academic, vocational, or social skills; be significantly different from appropriate age, cultural, or ethnic norms; and be more than temporary, expected responses to stressful events in the environment. The emotional or behavioral responses must be consistently exhibited in at least three different settings, two of which must be educational settings, and one other setting in either the home, child care, or community. The responses must not be primarily the result of intellectual, sensory, or acute or chronic physical health conditions.

Employment Network (EN) – an entity that contracts with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides and coordinates the delivery of necessary services to Social Security disability beneficiaries participating in the Ticket to Work program.

Endocrinologist – a medical doctor whose specialty is the diagnosis and treatment of growth, puberty, diabetes and other hormonal disorders of the endocrine glands.

Epilepsy – a neurologic condition characterized by recurring surges of electrical impulses in the brain, called seizures. A pattern of repeated seizures without a known cause is epilepsy.

Evaluation (education) – the testing and observations used to find out if a student’s disability makes them eligible for special education and related services.

Expressive Language – the ability to communicate verbally, with symbols or in writing.

Extended School Year Services (ESY) – for students in special education who require services beyond the normal school year. Services are provided at no cost and are specified in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). ESY services are not the same as summer school.


Facilitated Communication (FC) – an expressive communication method where a facilitator gives support to an individual (hand, wrist, arm, etc.) to allow them to communicate on a keyboard or other augmentative communication device.

Fine Motor Skills – involve the coordination of small muscles of the body to complete functional tasks. Development of fine motor skills, including the dexterity of small muscles of the hands, fingers, feet, toes, lips and tongue normally develop as a child grows.

Formal Supports – are community supports for individuals with disabilities that are provided by services and programs.

Fragile X Syndrome – an inherited x chromosome-based disorder that results in a spectrum of physical and mental impairments ranging from mild to severe.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) – a provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA) that ensures special education and related services to qualifying students at no cost.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) – the problem-solving process of identifying the relationship between the environment and a student’s disability-related behavior that is negatively impacting their education. When the function and communicative intent is determined, strategies can be developed to address inappropriate behavior.


Gastroenterologist – a medical doctor whose specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the digestive tract, including the liver, stomach and intestines. It is a subspecialty of internal medicine.

Geneticist – a medical doctor whose specializes in the diagnosis of genetic conditions that may play a role in disease, disability or medical conditions, and counsels patients regarding the implications of these genetic issues.

Global Developmental Delay – a significant lag in meeting important developmental milestones, including: physical, cognitive, behavioral, and social development.

Governor – the elected chief executive officer of the state.

Gross Motor Skills – the abilities required to control the large muscles of the body and whole body movement and are dependent on muscle tone and strength.

Guardian – a legal relationship where an individual is appointed by the court to make decisions regarding the care and welfare for another who is incapable of caring and managing these things for themselves. See Conservator.


Homeopathy – a system of complimentary/alternative medicine based on the principle of “like cures like.” Homeopaths give minute doses of natural substances that in larger doses would produce symptoms of the disease itself to stimulate the body’s self-healing mechanisms.

Hospitalist – a medical doctor who specializes in the care of patients in a hospital setting.


IEP Team – the group of people, including parents and school district staff, that are responsible for creating a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Immunologist – a medical doctor that specializes in analyzing and treating allergic diseases and diseases that involve the functioning of the immune system.

Inclusion – with regard to developmental disabilities, refers to individuals participating in social, school, work, and community activities alongside their peers without disabilities with support services, if needed.

Indirect Services (education) – the time spent by special education staff discussing and modifying the student’s education plan and curriculum. Indirect services do <span class=”italicsnormal”>not </span>include time working directly with the student

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – federal legislation passed in 1975 and most recently revised in 2004 that guarantees every child a free and appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and special education and related services for qualifying students.

Individualized Education Program/Plan (IEP) – a written document developed by an IEP Team for a student who qualifies for special education and related services. It lists measurable goals designed to meet the unique goals of the student.

Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) – can be considered when parents do not agree with the school district’s evaluation of their child. The evaluation is conducted by an examiner not employed by the school district and chosen by the parents. The results must be considered when developing the IEP and is completed at the school district’s expense unless they can prove their original assessment was correct.

Independent Interagency Intervention Plan (IIIP) – an option to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) (for children 0-3) who are using multiple state agencies and would like to coordinate care with school, home and community.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) – the process of finding, evaluating, documenting and providing early intervention services for children 0-3 with special needs who qualify under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). An IFSP is centered around the child and his/her family. Children over age 3 have an IEP instead of an IFSP.

Informal Supports – community supports for individuals with disabilities provided by family, friends, and social network groups.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) – basic skills an individual needs in order to function. Examples include: shopping, managing finances, essential household chores, planning and preparing meals.

Integrative Medicine – the practice of combining traditional, complementary and alternative medicine and practices during treatment.

Intensive Early Intervention Behavior Therapy (IEIBT) – see Applied Behavior Therapy (ABA)

Interagency Early Intervention Committee (IEIC) – through the Child Find process, seeks out, identifies and finds children 0-5 suspected of having a developmental disability or delay.

Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD) – a residential facility or licensed health care institution that provide health and rehabilitative services for persons with developmental disabilities or related conditions who require active treatment.

Irrevocable Trust – a trust that cannot be changed or cancelled after it has been created.


No definitions at this time.


No definitions at this time.


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – requires students with disabilities to be educated in a setting with their peers without disabilities to the maximum extent possible.

Lobbying (legislative) – a person or group that presents their viewpoints to the Legislature in an effort to influence the Legislature in either supporting or rejecting a piece of legislation.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – a medical imaging technique that used a magnetic field to produce pictures of the soft tissues of the body.

Magnet Schools – public schools for students K-12 that focus on particular curriculums or themes and support diverse learning styles.

Mainstreaming – the integration of students with disabilities into the regular classroom with supports, as needed. Mainstreaming is the opposite of segregation, where students with disabilities are educated in a setting without their peers who do not have disabilities.

Majority Leader (legislative) – the head of the majority party in the Senate. (In the House of Representatives the leader is called the Speaker.)

Mediation (education) – a voluntary meeting between the parents and the school district to resolve differences regarding a student’s education.

Medical Assistance (MA) – a healthcare program for individuals who meet certain income and other criteria, including persons with disabilities.

Medically Necessary Care – a healthcare service determined to be reasonable and appropriate for a given diagnosis or condition from a qualified health care provider.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) – a state agency whose mission is to protect, maintain and improve the health of all Minnesotans.

MinnesotaCare – a health insurance program for low-income Minnesotans who meet eligibility guidelines.

Modifications (504 Plan) – the altering of education materials to allow students with 504 Plans to participate more fully in the classroom. Accommodations and modifications are used in 504 Plans.

Multidisciplinary Team (education) – a group of people, each having unique expertise, that work together to observe, test, interview and gather information to determine if a child qualifies for special education and related services.

Muscle Tone – the amount of tension in a muscle at rest or in resistance to movement that enables movement. Abnormal muscle tone is a prominent symptom of cerebral palsy.


Naturopath – a complimentary/alternative medical practitioner that uses a drugless system of therapy that uses natural or holistic means to encourage the body to heal itself.

Nephrologist – a medical doctor whose specialty is the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the kidneys.

Neurologist – a medical doctor whose specialty is the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.

Neurosurgeon – a medical doctor whose specialty is the surgical treatment of conditions involving the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.

Nonparticipating Provider – a healthcare provider who is <em>not</em> under contract with a health plan.

Nurse Practitioner – a registered nurse (RN) who is trained and licensed to provide a wide range of healthcare services, including treatment and diagnosis of chronic and acute problems.

Nursing Facility (NF) – a facility or part of a facility licensed to provide nursing care for persons who are unable to properly care for themselves.


Object Permanence – awareness that an object exists even when it is taken away and cannot be seen or touched.

Occupational Therapist (OT) – a healthcare professional trained to work with clients to develop, improve, sustain or restore independence with activities of daily living related to fine motor, gross motor and sensory integration development. OT is a related service.

Office of Civil Rights (education) – part of the United States Department of Education that ensures equal access to education, protects civil rights, and prohibits discrimination.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) – an ongoing pattern of angry, negative, hostile and defiant behavior lasting at least six months which goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behavior and seriously interferes with day-to-day functioning.

Open Enrollment – the opportunity for public school students to apply, at no cost, to attend a different public school outside the school district in which they live.

Ophthalmologist – a medical doctor who specializes in the full spectrum of medical and surgical care of the eye. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians.

Optician – trained to fill prescriptions for eye correction, including glasses and contacts, but does not diagnose or treat vision problems. Opticians differ from Ophthalmologists and Optometrists.

Optometrist – a licensed practitioner, but not a medical doctor, who can diagnosis and treat vision problems, prescribe corrective lenses and can screen for certain eye abnormalities. Optometrists differ from Ophthalmologists and Opticians.

Orthopedist – a medical doctor whose specialty is the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of the skeletal system.

Orthotist – a medical specialist who designs, manufactures, and fits orthopedic devices that support, align, prevent, or improve function of the limbs or torso

Other Health Disabilities – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: having limited strength, endurance, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened or diminished alertness to environmental stimuli, with respect to the educational environment that is due to a broad range of medically diagnosed chronic or acute health conditions that adversely affect a pupil’s educational performance.

Otitis Media – a middle ear infection.

Otolaryngologist – a medical doctor, also known as an ENT, that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions of the ears, nose and throat.


Paraprofessional – works with special education students under the direction of the teacher, special education teacher or related service provider. Paraprofessionals may work with several students at the same time or may be assigned to work one-to-one with a student, as stipulated in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Parental Fee – a monthly amount paid by parents of children under 18 accessing TEFRA. It is based on family income and size.

Participating Provider – a healthcare provider who is under contract with a health plan.

Person-Centered Planning – an approach developed for persons with disabilities that supports the individual in making choices and decisions to self-direct their lives and futures.

Personal Care Assistance or Assistant (PCA) – provides day-to-day assistance and support to individuals with disabilities to help them be more independent in their homes and in the community.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) – a group of developmental disorders that involve impairments or delays in socialization and communication and language skills, and is usually seen before 3 years of age. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder.

Physical Therapist (PT) – a healthcare professional trained to provide treatment and management of physical disabilities or impairments to enhance and restore functional ability in the school setting. PT is a related service.

Physically Impaired – one of 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: a medically diagnosed chronic, physical impairment, either congenital or acquired, that may adversely affect physical or academic functioning and result in the need for special education and related services

Pica – the persistent craving of eating of non-food items.

Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) – a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) work initiative that lets individuals with disabilities set aside money and other assets to pay for items or services to reach specific work goals.

Preexisting Condition – a health condition that exists at the time you apply for health insurance.

Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) – a section of the IEP that explains the special education student’s current level of functioning. It includes both the student’s strengths and needs.

Prior Authorization – approval of a healthcare service or medication by a healthcare plan before it will be paid for. Obtaining the prior authorization is usually the responsibility of the patient’s primary physician.

Private Health Insurance – provides coverage through a parent’s or employee’s employer or through a private plan.

Procedural Safeguards (education) – a document given to parents that explains the special education process and gives information regarding their rights under the law.

Progress Report (education) – a document explaining if a student is making adequate progress in meeting annual goals on his/her Individualized Education Plan (IEP). A progress report must be given to parents of students in special education at least as often as their non-disabled peers.

Public Health Insurance – plans are offered by a government program, such as Medical Assistance.

Pulmonologist – a medical doctor whose specialty is the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the respiratory system, including the lungs.


No definitions at this time.


Radiologist – a medical doctor whose specialty is the diagnosis of illness, injury and disease using imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and x-ray.

Reception Language – the ability to listen and understand spoken and written communication and gestures.

Recoupment – with regard to extended school year services (ESY), recoupment is the amount of time that is needed to regain skills lost over a school break.

Referral – a direction from your doctor to receive care from a different provider or facility. A referral is required by some insurance plans.

Regression – with regard to extended school year services (ESY), regression involves the loss of skills that would occur over a school break without ESY services. Regression is considered along with recoupment when determining if ESY services are necessary.

Related Condition – a condition closely related to a developmental disability that meets specified criteria.

Related Services (education) – services that students require in order for them to benefit from special education services. Examples of related services are Adapted Physical Education (APE), Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT), Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) and Transportation.

Revocable Trust – a trust that can be changed or cancelled after it has been created.


Section 504 – a federal civil rights law that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities. In the school setting, students with qualifying disabilities can receive accommodations and modifications to allow them the opportunity to perform at the same level as their peers without disabilities. Section 504 does not fall under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), so students do not benefit from the same protections as students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

Segregation – in the educational setting, is the separation of students with disabilities from their peers without disabilities. Segregation is the opposite of mainstreaming, where students with disabilities are educated with their peers in the general education classroom.

Seizure – a surge of electrical activity in the brain. Multiple seizures without a known cause is epilepsy.

Sensory Processing Disorder – also known as sensory integration dysfunction, is a neurological disorder that results in the difficulty taking in, interpreting, and integrating everyday sensory information such as movement, sound and touch. Sensory processing disorders can affect learning, behavior and daily functioning.

Severely Multiply Impaired – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: a pupil who has severe learning and developmental problems resulting from two or more disability conditions determined by an evaluation as defined by part 3525.2710. Subp. 2. Criteria. The team shall determine that a pupil is eligible as being severely multiply impaired if the pupil meets the criteria for two or more of the following disabilities: A. deaf or hard of hearing, part 3525.1331; B. physically impaired, part 3525.1337; C. developmental cognitive disability: severe-profound range, part 3525.1333; D. visually impaired, part 3525.1345; E. emotional or behavioral disorders, part 3525.1329; or F. autism spectrum disorders, part 3525.1325.

Social Security Administration (SSA) – a federal agency that administers Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs. These two major programs provide cash benefits to persons with disabilities.

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) – a program under Retirement, Survivor and Disability Insurance (RSDI) that provides cash benefits to individuals who have a disability and have worked a certain number of quarters or had a parent or spouse work a certain number of quarters and have paid into FICA.

Speaker of the House (legislative) – the head of the majority party of the House of Representatives.(The leader of the majority party of the Senate is called the Majority Leader.)

Special Education – instruction given to students with disabilities who qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) – a group established by Minnesota Statute that is comprised of parents and others that give input on special education issues to each local school district.

Special Education Director – oversees and makes decisions for all of the special education programs in the school district.

Specific Learning Disability – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota statute and is defined as: a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

Speech and Language Pathologist or Therapist (SLT) – a specialist trained to evaluate and diagnose speech, articulation, communication and swallowing disorders. SLT is a related service.

Speech or Language Impairment – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined under several criteria including: Fluency disorder, Voice disorder, Articulation Disorder, and Language Disorder.

Spenddown – an amount of money that a person enrolled in a Minnesota Health Care Program (MHCP) is required to pay before they are eligible for Medical Assistance (MA).

State Medical Review Team (SMRT) – a division of the Department of Human Resources (DHS) that makes disability determinations using criteria from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Statute – a written law enacted by the Legislative Branch.

Stay Put – the right of a student to remain in their current special education placement and continue to receive services while any disputes between the parents and school district are being resolved, unless parents and the school district both agree to the change. There are exceptions to this rule for serious offenses.

Summer School – differs from Extended School Year (ESY) services. ESY provides services specifically designed to meet the goals on a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) during school breaks, while summer school does not.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – a federal needs-based program for children and adults who have not been able to work or have not worked enough to pay into the Social Security System. SSI helps to offset the costs of food, clothing and shelter with monthly benefit payments.


TEFRA (Tax Equity & Fiscal Responsibility Act) – a component of Medical Assistance (MA), and helps families cover healthcare costs for children with disabilities. Only the child’s income is used to determine eligibility; however there may be parental fees.

Tourette’s Syndrome – a neurological disorder that becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence and is characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal tic lasting for more than one year.

Traumatic Brain Injury – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that may adversely affect a pupil’s educational performance and may result in the need for special education and related services. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as: cognition, speech/language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, and information processing. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Trustee – the person or entity responsible for the management and distribution of the assets of a trust.


Urologist – is a medical doctor whose specialty is the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract.


Veto – a power the Governor can use to reject a bill that is proposed by the Legislature. The Legislature can override the veto with a 2/3 majority vote in both houses.

Visually Impaired – one of the 13 special education disability categories under Minnesota Statute and is defined as: Visual Impairment Including Blindness – is one of the 13 disability categories under IDEA and is defined as: impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.





No definitions at this time

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